Amy Mayer / IPR

Travel back just two short months to a quintessential scene: it’s a farm so close to suburban sprawl you can practically see the retail developments from the gravel road. A large American flag hangs from the door of a big, white barn. Classic red tractors surround an area filled with folding chairs as music is piped in and volunteers in Amy for America T-shirts work the crowd with clipboards in hand.

This is LaVon and Craig Griffieon’s family farm in Ankeny and on this day it’s the site of Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s campaign event announcing her proposals for agriculture.

Katie Peikes / IPR

Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst has joined her colleague, Sen. Chuck Grassley in defending the whistleblower whose complaint has sparked the House impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. 

Amy Mayer / IPR file

Small farmers and their allies are responding to comments the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture made this week that suggested only big farms are likely to survive.

“In America, the big get bigger and the small go out,” Sonny Perdue told a gathering of dairy farmers in Wisconsin. He added that even 100 cows might not be enough to turn a profit. The comments come at a time when dairy farmers across the country, but especially in the upper Midwest, are struggling.

University of Illinois agriculture policy professor Jonathan Coppess found the comment “shocking.”

Iowa City  poet Caleb Rainey  released his second collection of poems titled "Heart Notes" this week. The book dives into the ups and downs of relationships through a range of love poems. 

"These poems felt very close to me, important to me, part of who I am, that it just needed to be out," Rainey says.

Rainey, who publishes under the name "The Negro Artist" joins Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe to discuss the inspirations and motivations behind his writing. He also reads several poems on air.


(a selection from "Heart Notes" by The Negro Artist)

I'm so in love I may beed a doctor

after a fall like that. 

marcia-oc / Creative Commons

The population of monarch butterflies has been cut in half over the last decade, according to University of Wisconsin Arboretum Director Karen Oberhauser. 

Oberhauser joins Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe to  discuss the latest updates on the status of monarch butterflies. She has dedicated 35 years to studying the species. As monarch butterfly populations dwindled,  her resarch expanded to focus on conservation. 

Oberhauser says monarchs have recently been faring better and have risen in population throughout the last two years.  

Katie Peikes / IPR

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning to study the lower Missouri River and its tributaries from Sioux City, Ia. to St. Louis, Mo. to look at ways to reduce flood risks and improve infrastructure. 

Iowa farmers are finding themselves caught between the White House and China in the president's disputes over trade and agriculture policy. Some say their support for him is wearing thin. On the ninth episode of Caucus Land, we'll look at how Democratic presidential candidates are trying to win them over.

Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says she is still waiting to see a biofuel policy agreement from the Trump administration.

Natalie Krebs/IPR

Iowa health experts have been awarded a $10 million grant to study the state’s increasing maternal mortality rate.

Vhauri / Flickr

When Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five was published in 1969, it was an instant success. However, it took 25 years for the author to finish his masterpiece. Some of those years were spent in Iowa and the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop.

Slaughterhouse-Five tells the story of Billy Pilgrim, a veteran of World War II, who is "unstuck in time"  and claims to have been abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. The book explores Pilgrim's life and the aftermath of his experience as a prisoner of war in Germany and how it affected his life.

Iowa Department of Transportation Director, Mark Lowe
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Iowans need to be sure they have an up-to-date driver’s license before new rules take effect at airports and federal buildings next year. Starting in October 2020, a Real ID will be required to pass through security lines.

The IDs have a yellow star in the corner and are issued by the state according to federal guidelines to prevent identity theft. Without a Real ID, the only way for passengers to go through security will be with a valid passport or military ID.

Mimi Thian / Unsplash

Iowa has a labor shortage of technology professionals. In hopes of creating more enthusiam for the IT field, the Technology Association of Iowa is launching a statewide database designed to connect K-through-12 students to computer-related programs and events. 

The website is called Techstream. It lists various computer oriented activities around the state, such as cyber security clubs and coding sessions.

Mark Zdechlik / MPR News

Not since 2006 has Bigfork Valley Hospital taken in more money than it spent providing care. Despite the nonstop financial woes, it continues on and even makes expensive improvements. The hospital recently built a memory care wing called Aspen Circle. Inside, Frank Sinatra wafts from a CD player. The unit has the feel of a homey lodge. It is open and airy, yet secure, explained Bigfork Valley Hospital CEO Aaron Saude on a recent tour.

Iowa DOT /

Minor flooding is possible in parts of southwest Iowa later this week.

Charity Nebbe / Iowa Public Radio

This program originally aired on April 9, 2018.

When poet Stephen Kuusisto was 38 years old, he found himself unemployed, legally blind, and lonely. He made a decision that would radically change his life: he got a seeing eye dog.

On this Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Kuusisto about how his dog, Corky, opened up the world to him. His latest memoir, Have Dog, Will Travel, details Kuusisto's transformative decision to work with a guide dog after 38 years of downplaying his limited vision. 

voting sign
John Pemble / IPR file photo

This post was updated Tuesday, 10/1/19 at 4:14 p.m.

A Polk County judge has upheld a state law requiring Iowa voters to show an ID at the polls, but struck down other parts of the law as unconstitutional.

The Iowa Legislature, led by Republicans, made significant changes to state voting laws in 2017. The League of United Latin American Citizens, a Latino civil rights group, challenged the laws in court along with an Iowa State University student.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican, was named in the lawsuit.

Iowa DOT /

Emergency managers in western Iowa are preparing for the Missouri River to crest above flood stage this week from high amounts of rain in the forecast, bringing another round of possible flooding to the area. 

Linda Upmeyer
John Pemble / IPR file

The speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives announced Monday she will step down from the top position in the chamber and not seek re-election in 2020.

Seeking A Cure: The Quest To Save Rural Hospitals

Sep 30, 2019
Jim Slosiarek / The Gazette

Small rural Midwest community hospitals, squeezed by financial and regulatory pressures, are scaling back on services, merging with larger hospital systems and searching for other creative ways to survive in the short term, an Institute for Nonprofit News investigation by 12 news organizations in seven states revealed.


This program originally aired on April 3, 2018.

Just over sixty years ago in September of 1957, Terrence Roberts and eight other young people became the first African American students at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. These nine students, known as the Little Rock Nine, faced mobs of angry protesters as they tried to enter the school.

Natalie Krebs/IPR

Jessica Sheridan’s plan was to have her first daughter at the local hospital, five minutes from her house in Iowa Falls. But when she was seven months pregnant, that plan suddenly changed.

Iowa DOT /

Sections of Interstate-29 and Interstate-680 in western Iowa that have been closed for the last week due to area flooding are now open again to motorists, the Iowa Department of Transportation announced Friday afternoon.

he honor was to mark King’s plans to donate more than $1 million to charity after his decision to display a hand-written sign before the Sept. 14 Iowa State-Iowa football game seeking money for beer prompted an overwhelming number of donations.
David Pitt / AP


Carson King, 24, has raised over $1 million for charity and a wave of controversy after going viral with a sign requesting beer money at the Cyclone-Hawkeye game on Sept. 14. Media Ethicist and Iowa State University Professor Michael Bugega joins this 'News Buzz' edition of River to River to give his perspective on the investigation of Carson's past tweets by The Des Moines Register and the following backlash. 

Charity Nebbe/IPR

All this week, Talk of Iowa has explored the question “Iowa: Is this home?” On the final episode of this Iowa Week series, six stories of finding, or perhaps not finding, home from Iowans originally from other parts of the country and the globe.

Photo Courtesy of Gail Brasher-Krug

Sometimes it feels like Iowa is the country’s best kept secret. Iowans tend to be pretty happy with the quality of life, and yet there are still only 3.1 million of us.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe explores the economic and social reasons that people decide on to move to Iowa. Liesl Eathington, an assistant scientist and Iowa Community Indicators Program Coordinator at Iowa State University, joins Charity for part four of our “Iowa Week: Is This Home?” series.

Amy Mayer / Iowa Public Radio

On a hot September day, five Japanese men arrived at Rod Pierce’s central Iowa farm. They represented feed mills and livestock cooperatives, and were there to see the corn they may eventually buy. 

Pierce invited them to walk among his rows of corn, climb into the cab of an 8-head combine and poke their heads into one his empty grain storage bins. 

Pierce grows mostly corn on his 1,700 acres and he knows about one-fifth of the corn grown in the United States gets exported. Japan’s second only to Mexico as a customer of U.S. corn. 

Patrick Tomasso/Unsplash

Trade tariffs on imported goods are impacting the bottom lines of many Iowa businesses, and may even drive some to change their ticket prices and the products they offer.

Amy Mayer / IPR

Emergency planners and agriculture officials have spent this week testing their preparedness for a deadly pig disease outbreak.

Courtesy of Reeder for Congress

A fourth Republican challenger has thrown his hat into the ring to unseat Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King from Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, which covers the northwest quarter of the state. 

Katie Peikes / IPR file

Frustrated by the Trump administration’s waivers that excuse some oil companies from using ethanol in their gasoline, some farmers in the Midwest are calling on the administration to reallocate billions of waived gallons.